Yesterday was Good Friday. As Christians, we celebrate it as the day that Jesus was crucified for our sins. I think I have always understood in my head what that means. After last week’s sermon by Pastor Chris Hodges at the Church of the Highlands, I realize that I never understood what that really meant. As Pastor Chris said in his sermon, Good Friday was only good for us. It was horrible for Jesus. He went through unimaginable pain and suffering for one reason only. Our sin would keep us forever separated from God unless someone paid for that sin. We could not do it. We did not have the means or capacity for it. Only Jesus could do pay that debt for us. I would very much recommend that everyone listen to Pastor Chris’ sermon titled “Power in the Blood“. It will change your perspective of what the cross really means but, more importantly, it will change your life.
After Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb borrowed from Joseph of Arimathea. It was borrowed because He only needed it for a couple of days. Today represents that day between Jesus’ death and His resurrection. What happened during that day? It was the Jewish Sabbath so I think Jesus honored the Sabbath. We often hear that He went to hell and battled Satan and the demons to take the keys to death and hell. Why do we think that? Well, in Revelation Jesus tells John,
I am the living one. I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. ~ Revelation 1:18 (New Living Translation)
How difficult was the battle Jesus had with Satan? I personally believe it went something like this:
Jesus died on the cross and was buried in the tomb. The Sabbath started at sundown. The Jewish leaders were fearful that His followers might try to take his body so they expressed their concern to Pilate who was the Roman leader in their region. To appease their concerns, Pilate place Roman guards at the tomb and they rolled a huge stone over the opening. There was no way anyone was coming to take His body.
At some point after His death, Jesus knew it was time to deal with Satan. He walked into hell without knocking. Satan and the demons cowered in fear. Jesus told Satan to give Him the keys. Shaking, Satan handed them over. Jesus turned around and walked back out. I think Jesus only had to say to Satan, “Give me the keys” and Satan had no option but to oblige.
Why do I think it was that easy? God created the universe and everything in by speaking it into being. Also, the writer of Hebrews tells us,
For the Word of God is alive and powerful, it is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. ~ Hebrews 4:12 (New Living Translation)
God’s Word is a weapon that we know Satan cannot defend against. We see it when Satan tempts Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). His Word was all it took to defeat Satan between His death and resurrection and His Word alone will prevail in the end.
Jesus came the first time as a Lamb to be the sacrifice for our sin. After He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) and He willingly gave up His life, His role as the Lamb was complete. The next time He comes, it will be as a Lion to usher in His kingdom and to banish the devil and his demons to eternal suffering in hell. We all have to decide which Jesus we would rather deal with: the Lamb that paid the sacrifice for our sin or the Lion that will sit in judgement over everyone. Personally, I know that no one can meet the standard that His judgement will require so I would choose the Lamb. I will accept His sacrifice so that I be on His side we he returns as the Lion. We all have to decide for ourself. No one can make the decision for us. What will you do?